Joseph, God’s Ordinary Man

In the magic of the Christmas story, let’s not forget the one who paid the bills by Wendy Murray In the rush and sentimentality of Christmas, the seeming ubiquitous chorus “ `round yon virgin, Mother and Child” makes it is easy to forget that two individuals became parents of the Son of God that improbable night. Mary is rendered the greater distinction, conceiving without having been with a man and holding so many things in heart. But Joseph deserves credit… Read more

Christmas: From Jesus’ Birth to Santa ~ But How?

Where Did “Christmas” Come From? Christmas is typically associated with the birth of Jesus, a Jew born in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. I think we can all agree that the way the holiday is celebrated today carries little resemblance to a barn with animals and hay for a bed. There is an interesting, if convoluted, evolution about this holiday that clearly departs from any logical association of the birth of Jesus and thus the term “Christmas” ought not to… Read more

The Mayflower Compact, Harsh Though It Was, Helped the Struggling Pilgrims Survive

Thanksgiving approaches and we ponder giving thanks, it seems an appropriate time to reflect upon those forebears who put their lives on the line (and among whom many lives were lost), in order to stake a claim for religious freedom and govern by mutual covenant. These sojourners at the Plimouth Colony, known also as the Separatists, or Pilgrims, had plenty of problems to contend with in forming their system of governing in the midst of the precarious and hostile environment they… Read more

The Catholic Who Paved the Way for Martin Luther’s Reform

Three centuries before Martin Luther posted his ninety-five theses on the church door at Wittenberg, Francis of Assisi had already rocked the Roman Church with radical, controversial and irrepressible reform. Whereas Luther brought to the foreground the concept of justification by grace through faith in contradistinction to the corrupt practices of the Catholic Church of his time, Francis of Assisi had not only brought the concept to the foreground of his religious movement, but had cleared the path for living… Read more

When Does a Girl Stop Missing Her Father?

My father died 22 years ago on this day. I am within 10 years of the age at which my father died and I think of him still, and miss him as if I were still 14 and he was helping me with my math. I hated it when he helped me with my math. He was good at math and I really stunk at it, never understood it, and became exasperated with his “helpfulness” in explaining how self-evident the… Read more

The Antidote for the World-weary: Spiritual Practice

In times such as those in which we live — a time of an unrelenting sorrow, violence, tumult, and outrage, the weariness of this broken world kindles for me the longing for light. Amid such darkness it can be hard to know where to begin and how to access that light. This is the challenge of all ages. Yet, in all ages, there have points of light in persons who might be called our champions of faith (whether or not they embraced… Read more

How Do You Finish a Life with Wounds? Thoughts on Saint Francis on His Feast Day

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Francis, which in the Catholic tradition, is the day to remember and celebrate the life and death of the saints. Francis died on this day 791 years ago, in 1226 after many years of contending with various debilitating illnesses. His final weeks are referred to by locals in Assisi still as sua agonia (his agony). As a Protestant, I derived great spiritual consolation from Saint Francis during a time when I was bereft of hope… Read more

Are You Ready for “After-birth Abortion”?

In an article in the Journal of Medical Ethics  the authors present the argument, on ethical grounds, that: “(1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases… Read more

Dante’s Hell ~ He Names Names

Famed Italian poet Dante Alighieri died this month almost 700 years ago, in 1321 (aged c. 56), and his work, The Divine Comedy, still carries resonance in our age of discord. La Divina Commedia — the first major work of literary poetry in Italian (as opposed to Latin) — is comprised of three parts, L’Inferno (Hell), Il Purgatorio (Purgatory) and Il Paradiso (Heaven) and Dante populates these spheres with real personalities, naming names. Many of Dante’s critics of the time took umbrage with those whom… Read more

Amid September 11 Remembrances, Think on the Curious Case of Tony Rooke

By Wendy Murray A Brit who took on the BBC and their staged reporting of the attacks of 9/11  ~ ~ and won: Tony Rooke.   In a story that was quickly overshadowed by the terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon in April 2013, this fascinating story unfolded and is worth highlighting on this day of remembering the attacks of September 11. In the aftermath of the events of September 11, 49 year-old Tony Rooke had refused to pay his required TV… Read more

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